GMC Crushes Valdosta
By Keich Whicker – The Union-Recorder
In their last five meetings, Georgia Military College outscored Valdosta State’s junior varsity team 230-0. The Blazers finally managed to tally some points against GMC on Thursday night.
GMC scored on all but one of its possessions and forced the Blazers’ offense to punt most of the night.
“We don’t change the game plan for our defense,” said Jeff Tatum, GMC’s offensive coordinator, who stepped in for an absent Bert Williams and coached for the night. “We don’t care what happens on the other side of the ball, we just take care of ourselves and take care of business.”
The Bulldogs set the tone for the game on the opening kick-off, when Waymon Ford streaked down the sideline for a 92-yard touchdown return.
“We talked in the pre-game about making a statement right off the bat,” said Tatum.
On their first offensive possession of the night, GMC advanced the ball into Blazers territory with two Jarvis Williams first downs. Quarterback Joe Riner kept the drive going when he found Terio Stewart near the end zone. Stewart stretched into the end zone as he was hit, but was judged to have been knocked out of bounds just shy of the goal line.
Riner elected to keep the ball on the next play and jogged into the end zone untouched. The Blake Bartol conversion gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 10:27 left in the first quarter.
GMC was right back in Blazer territory after Williams picked up his third first-down of the night. Riner capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to fullback Brent Thomas.
Valdosta finally managed to pick up a first down with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
Terio Stewart gathered in the subsequent punt and galloped away from Blazer coverage unit. He was eventually caught and hit out of bounds on the Valdosta six, after a 51-yard return.
On the next snap, Greg Pruitt made up the difference with a run up the middle that extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 28-0 after a Bartol conversion.
Valdosta could have had a touchdown, but Tyler Aurandt dropped the ball just before the end of the quarter.
Justin Tyler took over at quarterback and completed two of his first three passes to advance the Bulldogs deep into the Valdosta half. Pruitt had his second touchdown of the night after he beat the Blazers’ defense to the corner and dashed for 25 more yards to score.
Facing fourth and two, GMC opted to go for it with 7:38 left in the half. Williams was hit when he came off the line, but the Bulldogs were not to be denied. Williams fought to stay on his feet and the official measurement granted him the first down.
Tyler shook off one defensive end, spun off another Blazer defender and took the ball into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown with 5:41 left in the half.
With a 42-0 lead and 97 seconds remaining in the half, Riner took the field and tried to run the Bulldogs’ two-minute offense. Riner overthrew his passes, which forced GMC to punt just prior to the horn sounding the end of the half.
In the second half, the Bulldogs managed two touchdowns – a six yard Williams sweep and a Jimmy Butler plunge – that extended their lead to 56-0.
“I told our guys not to look at the scoreboard,” said Tatum. “I told them to keep executing.”
The Blazers put together a drive late in the fourth quarter which resulted in a 34-yard field goal that removed the zero from the scoreboard and ended a five-year scoring drought against GMC.
Following a poor first-half performance against Carson-Newman last week, Tatum said he was pleased with the way the offense performed tonight.
“We worked all week on getting back to the basics and taking care of details,” he said. “It was important for us to start a game and finish it.”
To reach sports writer Keich Whicker, call him at (478) 453-1465.
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